|Photo: Ted Hood. State Library of New South Wales.|
If you have had a recent low back surgery, there are a few tips that will speed your recovery and help you to have a healthier back for the long term.
1. Practice good POSTURE. This may be difficult if you have a habit of slouching, but it is one of the most important ways to keep your spine healthy. Sit in upright, firm chairs with an extra lumbar support or rolled towel behind your low back. Avoid sitting in reclined positions.
2. AVOID BENDING FORWARD or bending down with your back. Learn how to do all your daily activities without bending your back. Many techniques can be used instead of forward bending, such as squatting, kneeling, sitting, pivoting on your hips, using a golfer’s lift, or even crawling. Excessive forward bending is often the cause of back injuries, so eliminating bending decreases your risk of future back pain/injury.
3. AVOID TWISTING your back. This may be easy to do while still wearing your back brace, but once you are out of the brace, it is also important to avoid twisting. Maintaining proper spine alignment during daily activities and especially during strenuous activities will help to prevent back injury.
4. STAY ACTIVE. Find a low-impact exercise that you can start or continue, such as walking, stationary biking, or water aerobics. Depending on your stage of recovery, you may only be able to do 10 minutes at a time, but slowly progress as you are able. Mobility promotes healing, as long as you do not overdo and cause more pain.
5. FOLLOW DOCTOR’S ORDERS, such as lifting restrictions, activity restrictions, using a brace, using a cane, Physical Therapy, etc.
6. REQUEST PHYSICAL THERAPY. For the optimal prognosis after low back surgery, it is important for you to learn some strategies, exercises, postures, and functional activities from a Physical Therapist. It may take just a few visits if you are recovering quickly, or some patients need weeks or months of therapy if they are still having limitations or symptoms.